Monday, January 6, 2014

Here's Your Sign

Remember that comedy bit from Jeff Foxworthy?  Love that!

I have had this idea to make handmade signs for people for a long time.  Finally, this year (thanks to Pinterest and a limited Christmas budget) I decided to tackle the project and make it happen!

I used this tutorial from Pinterest (find it HERE) and then had to tweak it from there.  Here are 25 easy steps you should take:

Step One:  Have an awesome Dad with a heated 2 car garage workshop and every tool/scrap wood/stain ever imagined.

Step Two: Send said Dad an email telling him what you want to accomplish and include the link to the tutorial.

Step Three:  Show up at said Dad's house with 5 year old in tow.  Bring 5 year old inside the house to be entertained spoiled by Nana.

Step Four:  Go into heated workshop to find that Dad has already purchased all the materials needed, has cleaned the workshop and has an amazing mix of Christmas music going (from his ginormous mp3 player from 2001- "It still works, doesn't it?").

Step Five:  Enjoy every minute hanging out with Dad and having him share his passion with you.

Step Six: Cut masonite (which dad had laying around from another project) into various sizes (for the front of the sign.  I used 12x12, 12x18 and some other sizes) using a table saw.

Step Seven: Cut 2x2's in half with table saw (or in my case, have Dad do it).

Step Eight: Cut 4- 2x2's (which are now actually 1x2's) to fit on the back of the sign.

Step Nine:  Attach the 2x2's to the back side of the sign with a nail gun (or in my case, have your Dad do it while you hold everything in place).

Now they look like this!
Step Ten: Go inside and have a BLT sandwich and check in on the 5 year old (and the Nana).

Step Eleven:  Bring the cute 5 year old outside and have him help you paint the signs (I got the paint for $10 per gallon at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore).  

He did a great job and no need to worry if he drips!
Step Twelve: Call it a day and go home to pick up the other kids from school.

Step Thirteen:  Come over two days later to find that Awesome Dad has done a second coat and some sanding on the project.  He has also bagged them all in black garbage bags so as to make transport easier. Also steal borrow a ginormous basket of small acrylic paints from Mom.

Step Fourteen:  Let them sit in the garage for a week until you have time to get to them again.

Step Fifteen:  Spend 12 hours (not joking) trying to figure out how to get the words on the sign.  This was tricky.  I was going to blow it up using a projector, but that did NOT work.  Finally, I used a program called Picmonkey (very similar to the old piknic) which allows you to put all sorts of words and fonts onto a picture.  

Here is what it looked like from Picmonkey. 

After I saved the picture, I brought it into Photoshop.  Then I found a tutorial (on youtube, but can't remember what it was called.  If you really want to know, comment below and I will find it for you- I think I have it written down somewhere) on how to print tiles and printed it into 8x8 inch squares which I taped together.  Then I used (graphite) tracing paper (found in a big roll at Hobby Lobby) to trace the words directly onto the sign.

Step Sixteen:  Spend hours (complete with hand cramps) tracing the letters onto the signs.  Then spend hours (and more hand cramps) hand painting the letters with the acrylic paints from mom and teeny tiny paint brushes stolen borrowed from my husband's art supply stash.

Step Seventeen: Go back to Dad's warm, Christmasy workshop with hand painted signs in tow.  

This one ended up being my favorite, however I don't have a finished pic of it.  I will have to snap one next time we are up at the cabin as it is already hanging up there!
Be sure to bring along Santa's helper.

Step Eighteen:  Sanding.  Sand down the signs.  Use precise movements.

Or, in my case,  let an eight year old do it.

Step Nineteen: Using a dark stain (see step one), carefully put stain on the sign. 

Oh, who are we kidding....just let the eight year old do it!

Step Twenty: Let it sit for a minute and then wipe it off.

Step Twenty-One: Take 8 year old inside (see step 3- Nana was quite perturbed when Santa's Helper beat her handily at every game they played).

Step Twenty-Two: With a table saw, cut down the rest of the 2x2's so that they will fit the thickness of the sign (you will use these for the frame of the picture).  Be sure to measure and make sure it works on a scrap piece before cutting all of them.  And be sure your tongue is out.  It helps.

Step Twenty-Three: Stain the frame pieces (again, see step one).  I used Jacobean, which is a really dark stain, but I liked the way it turned out.

Step Twenty-Four: After debating, decide that Dad is right and even though straight corners would be easier, mitered corners will look better.  Plus, Dad likes to use his fancy tools.

Not gonna lie.  I liked using them too!

Step Twenty-Five:  Measure, cut, nail.  Repeat a million times.

For Julie

For Uncle Ron

For Paul's Downstairs Bar 

Step Twenty-Six:  Relish in a job well done and some good quality time spent with good ole' Dad (with a lot of Mom backup support- as usual).

Easy-Peasy....right?  I have a few blank ones left if anyone would like to make a request and buy them.  I can personalize them with whatever you want!  I am going to make myself one and will have three other leftover signs that just need steps 16-25.  Any takers?

If you are going to take on this project....make sure you follow steps 1-5 VERY carefully!  Thanks Dad (and mom).  

Stay tuned for more projects like these.  My sister and I are contemplating starting a company that makes your pins (from Pinterest) come to life.  For those of you who don't have time (or perhaps the know-how) to DIY.  We are going to call it....."My sister made it".   Anyone have a pin that they have pinned that they can't or don't know how to make.  We will do it for you!  What do you think?


  1. All I have to say is that I need to be neighbors with you and Julie so I can get in on this (and hang out with your dad)!!

    1. Kristen, we miss you too. Hope you are doing well!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.